According to the IBM Cost of a data breach report 2022, stolen or compromised credentials are the most common cause of data breaches in organizations. Other causes of data breaches, according to the report, include phishing, business email compromise, a vulnerability in third-party software, stolen or compromised credentials, and malicious insiders.
As an organization, you must be proactive and take the necessary steps to protect your organization’s data. Not only is it a pragmatic way to do business, it will protect you from legal and financial liabilities as well.
Here are three tips on how to effortlessly improve data security and compliance within your organization.
1. Establish clear data policies and procedures
Creating a data management policy (DMP) should be your first priority when improving your data security, mitigating cybersecurity risks, and adhering to compliance. A DMP is a document that outlines how to collect, store, manage, secure, access, share, transfer, and how to dispose of data in your organization. It also provides a framework to establish compliance with the rules and regulations.
After creating your DMP, introduce it to your employees, and educate them. Ensure the IT department is also thoroughly trained on the DMP to implement it seamlessly. If implemented to the letter, your DMP will minimize the chances of a data leak in your company; if it does happen, you’ll be able to find the culprit.
2. Use encryption to secure your data
Encrypting sensitive information is another way to improve data security in your organization. The different ways to use encryption to safeguard your organization include:
- Hard Drives – in case of data theft or corruption, your data will be safe
- Laptops – easy to lose and an easy target for data thieves; encrypt your business laptops and develop a policy for employees’ BYODs
- Individual files – no need to encrypt all files in your organization — limit encryption to files containing sensitive information
- File transfers – sending files via an unsecured, even a secure network, comes at risk; use FTPS (File Transfer Protocol Secure), SFTP encryption (SSH File Transfer Protocol), or HTTPS (HTTP Secure) to encrypt your files when sending them
- Removable data – portable media devices like thumb drives and memory sticks are convenient to use but easy to lose, and susceptible to theft; use only portable devices with built-in encryption support
- Email – emails are the lifeline of communication in any organization, and compromised emails are trouble — invest in secure email solutions that encrypt your emails.
To ensure success with your encryption plans, introduce a data access service and easy-to-use tools for employees to encrypt files. If an employee has a file with sensitive information that needs to be encrypted, they should know how to do it and have the tools for encryption handy, without having to enlist IT to perform the encryption operation.
3. Stay up-to-date with data protection and compliance regulations
Data protection laws and compliance regulations are now an important part of any business operation. In the US, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act — among other laws — require organizations to be accountable on the use of consumer information. In the EU, The General Data Protection Regulation GDPR does the same thing — it governs the use and transfer of personal data, and gives individuals control and rights over their data.
As an organization, you must comply with these laws. To do this, contract a compliance officer to guide you on implementing compliance regulations. The compliance officer will ideally be a lawyer and provide legal counsel on how to protect your organization on the other end. Finally, stay up-to-date on data protection laws and compliance regulations, and ensure your organization is always compliant.
The cost of a data breach report 2022 puts the global average cost of a data breach at $4.35 million, while in the US, it stands at $9.44 million. As an organization it is wise to take note of these statistics and avoid being one.
Applying the above tips will improve data security and compliance in your organization using minimum effort. Continuously review and update your data security policies and procedures, and make sure you are compliant with the law at all times.
Ben Herzberg is Satori’s Chief Scientist and VP of Marketing
Ben is an experienced tech leader and book author with a background in endpoint security, analytics, and application & data security. Ben filled roles such as the CTO of Cynet, and Director of Threat Research at Imperva. Ben is the Chief Scientist for Satori, the DataSecOps platform, as well as VP of Marketing.